Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger program
The Queensland Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger program cares for land and sea country and increases Indigenous participation in environmental management.
Indigenous land and sea rangers are currently contracted to 14 regional communities throughout Queensland.
Land and sea rangers are employed through local Indigenous host organisations, with funding by the Queensland Government. The ranger program is managed by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP).
IntroductionThe Queensland Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger program is instrumental in managing the land, waterways and protected species across the state. Land and sea rangers work in regional communities throughout Queensland. Their activities are tailored to meet local needs which are negotiated by the communities, local landholders, government and Traditional Owners. To achieve environmental outcomes and raise awareness of the importance of looking after country, land and sea rangers work closely with local authorities, pastoralists, schools and community groups. The land and sea rangers are a great source of pride throughout Queensland’s Indigenous communities and they are an important part of a strong and stable Indigenous workforce, with many rangers also Traditional Owners of the land on which they work.
Training and supportThere is a strong emphasis on providing relevant and appropriate training and support to rangers to equip them with the skills and knowledge to look after their local natural environment. EHP program staff work with local coordinators to develop training plans that are relevant and specific to the needs of each ranger group and individual rangers. Ranger coordinators and EHP Program staff work together to develop the rangers’ skills in areas including leadership, team work and operational planning. Mentoring of rangers by traditional owners and rangers from other communities is encouraged.
Agency workLand and sea rangers have a close working relationship with state and federal government agencies, including the Department of National Parks, Recreation Sports and racing, the Customs and the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service and the Australian Government’s Working on Country program. Ranger groups work closely with a range of partner agencies to effectively manage pests, weeds and animals, conduct biodiversity surveys and monitor for illegal activities.
Junior Ranger programThe Junior Ranger program introduces school students to land and sea management. Working directly with rangers, students get first-hand experience and learn about managing the natural environment through classroom activities and field experiences. Land and sea rangers regularly assist with school camps, classroom activities and community events. A variety of educational activities and resources including lesson plans for teachers are available on the Junior Ranger program website. All activities and learning outcomes are aligned to the Australian school curriculum.
The Ranger’s role
Ranger activities are tailored to meet local needs and are negotiated by the communities, local landholders, government and Traditional Owners. Land and sea ranger activities can include:
- weeds and feral animal management
- fire management
- biodiversity surveys on local species and habitats
- preserving cultural sites and stories
- supporting disaster recovery efforts
- visitor management and education
- helping manage national parks.
Land and sea rangers work closely with local authorities, pastoralists, schools and community groups to achieve environmental outcomes and raise awareness of the importance of looking after country.
Achievements and outcomes
The achievements of the program to date are significant. It continues to successfully deliver on planned activities and program outcomes, with clear evidence these activities lead to wider environmental, social, cultural and economic benefits.
- Improved weed and pest control, including removal of tens of thousands of pest plants and animals.
- Increased community involvement in environmental management and protection.
- Better vegetation management, including almost 2.5 million hectares protected through improved fire management.
- Improved self-esteem for Indigenous rangers.
- Educating and inspiring future generations through the Junior Ranger program.
- Widespread community support for ranger groups.
- Increased Indigenous access to traditional lands.
- Protection of cultural assets by managing threats, including fencing of wetlands and culturally sensitive areas.
- Increased Indigenous knowledge transfer.
- Full time employment opportunities in remote Queensland communities
- Increased skills and capacity of land and sea rangers through training and support.
- Continued and diverse investment in the ranger program and host communities.
- Increased economic opportunities in remote parts of Queensland, including development of fee-for-service work.